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    I don't visit math.SE very often. It appears that it's a very turbulent place right now and I was hoping somebody could explain to me what's going on:

    In that thread, Jeff Atwood says

    [T]here's something unique about the math community as it exists here. Certainly the number of mod flags and problem "needs moderator intervention" issues here is about two orders of magnitude higher than any other community under our banner.

    Is the existence of MO related to things getting out of hand on math.SE? From that thread, it sounds like users, moderators, and "SE officials" spend all their energy just tolerating each other's presence, leaving no possibility for fruitful development. What's happening? How did it happen? Is there something we can do about it?

    There seems to be a huge amount of tension in the comment threads. I'm surely missing some important back story.

    • CommentAuthorgrp
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2010
    Anton, I suggest contacting Harry Gindi or Akhil Mathew (Matthew? not sure of the name.) There is also a thread that I started here in meta when was in beta. That thread might provide some names. I think you would not only be forgiven for contacting some of those people directly, they might welcome your advice (assuming there is a problem to solve) .

    Gerhard "Don't Know, Don't Wanna Know" Paseman, 2010.11.18
    • CommentAuthorgrp
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2010
    Oh, and I suspect it is better to keep such (potentially political) discussions out of meta.mathoverflow, thus the suggestion to contact them privately. Not that reading such things does not provide entertainment, but surely we can roll our own?

    Gerhard Paseman, 2010.11.18
    • CommentAuthorHarry Gindi
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2010 edited

    Anton, you should also take a look at this other thread, which seems to be the source of the problem between Pete and Jeff.

    I get the impression that Jeff has never been in a situation like this, where the majority of the community is not taking his side.

    So has long been a disaster zone. A big part of the problem is that SE sites don't have administrators so there was no one there to suspend Harry right at the beginning before a bad tone got set. Another big problem is that SE sites treat their metas very very differently from how MO treats its meta. For example, when they finally did suspend Harry (which as I said I thought was overdue) they did so for entirely ridiculous reasons (that he criticized moderators on meta). People coming from MO are used to being allowed to criticize things on meta, and apparently the SE people don't think that's ok. A third big problem is that the SE people and the moderators that they brought in (as opposed to just the moderators who users of the site supported) aren't being very politic themselves. Every once and a while I want to try to intervene to bring the temperature there down a little, but I'm just not sure how to do it.
    • CommentAuthorEmerton
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2010

    Dear Noah,

    I agree with your analysis, and with your conclusion: it's not clear what to do.

    Best wishes,


    Yes, it is very strange. I have disagreed with some of the MSE moderators' decisions (such as the grounds for Harry's suspension, the closure of meta threads, etc.) in the past but I do not understand the decision of Jeff Atwood, who is not a user of math.SE (unlike the moderators), to assume moderator duties in the past few days with more heavy-handedness than they (e.g. locking reasonable meta threads, a manner of dealing with other users which strikes me as unnecessarily confrontational). Essentially, what I see (as simply a user) is that he has replaced the moderators while ignoring past precedents set on meta.MSE (such as copying deleted comments to meta). There was significant friction between certain users (e.g. T.. and 97832123) and the moderators in the past, over issues such as the posting of copyrighted material and homework questions, but it seems to have significantly increased over the past few days. I am not entirely sure that there is a serious problem that is actually being solved with these discussions right now, though it has made very apparent the fact that the admins of meta.MSE are surprisingly unwelcoming of criticism. (There have been other SE admins who have stepped in in the past, usually to similar disapproval from the community.)

    I am hoping that the SE admins will step back a while and let the moderators there to their job, and that the election for new moderators will occur soon. Fortunately, the nastiness seems not to have spilled over to the main site itself, where things seem to be running reasonably smoothly, as usual.

    Although I have been somewhat involved with the meta site, especially recently, I don't really have much insight to offer. It seems to me that Jeff Atwood is very frustrated with many users of the meta site. He has given us the figure that meta.SE has "two orders of magnitude" more moderation issues than any other SE site.

    I have had some exchanges with Jeff Atwood on the meta site over the last 24 hours or so, and I have found them...perplexing. I don't feel like he is reading what I am saying carefully, and I am starting to think that I don't understand him well either. He recently answered one of my comments by saying "I am a policeman". I replied that he was rather a website administrator, which he regarded as a serious insult. I was not in the least trying to be insulting -- and I still don't really understand why that's an insulting or inaccurate view of his function on the math.SE site (isn't he the head site administrator?).

    It is becoming increasingly clear that there are some big cultural differences between the way MO is run and the way math.SE is run and also between the culture of mathematicians and that of the SE group. To me (and others on the meta.math.SE site), a lot of Mr. Atwood's behavior looks heavy-handed and motivated by annoyance and exasperation, especially by comparison to the way MO and meta.MO are run. It is strange to me that these practices which are so demonstrably unpopular on meta.math.SE were so successful at building SO and related sites. I guess part of the answer is that I and other MO users will inevitably compare our site experiences to those of MO, whether that is fair or not.

    I am certainly open to advice as to what, if anything, I should do. I don't want to say much more to Jeff Atwood until I understand his point of view better.

    • CommentAuthorEmerton
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2010

    Dear Akhil,

    Your description of the situation seems (in my view) quite accurate. My overall impression had been that the level of friction on meta.math.SE had diminished somewhat, and that the responsiveness of the SE team to various requests (improvements in LaTeX rendering and so on) was a good sign. Then suddenly Jeff Atwood began engaging in frequent interventions, locking of posts, and so on, for reasons that are not really clear to me.

    Best wishes,


    • CommentAuthorHarry Gindi
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2010 edited

    Dear All,

    It appears that Jeff Atwood has suspended me for my completely reasonable comments on Pete's answer (for those of you who read them). I think that this is a pretty significant show of bad faith.

    Here is the relevant stuff:

    @Jeff Atwood: you are obviously not a policeman but a website administrator. And my point was not to question whether you are qualified but rather whether you are so qualified so as to make it wise to act unilaterally and in the face of significant reasoned opposition. It doesn't seem like you are listening carefully to what I'm saying or are interested in a serious discussion. That's unfortunate. – Pete L. Clark 4 hours ago

    @Pete it's disappointing that you would refer to the co-founder of the organization -- someone who cares deeply about the success of these communities -- as a "website administrator". I'm here because there are deep problems within this community. Exhibit A: this very question. So you can either fight me, insult me (as you just did) or you can work with me as a possible elected moderator to make this site more civil. Which will it be? – Jeff Atwood♦ 2 hours ago

    @Jeff: Are you trying to give PLC an ultimatum to become moderator?! – 97832123 1 hour ago

    @Jeff: I also think that you misunderstood Pete's point (i.e. that you are not a police officer. That is, you are not a public servant who is licensed by law to carry a badge and gun and use them to fight crime). I don't think he was trying to minimize your stature, if that's how you interpreted it. I think he was, at the very worst, pointing out that your comparison is a bit over the top (you are much closer to being a website administrator than being a cop, and this is not an insult. It's a fact.). – 97832123 1 hour ago

    Further, there are some dictatorial tones in your last comment that I find a bit frightening, and I'm sure others will as well. I really think you owe Pete an apology, whether or not you consider this argument resolved. – 97832123 1 hour ago

    On more thought, there are two problems at math.SE which I see as very difficult to make progress on given the current setup. Some of these are obscured by various personality clashes and various policy issues, but I think they're a root cause of some of the problems.

    1) There's genuine differences of opinion about how math.SE should function. In particular there's issues about whether math.SE should just answer questions or whether it should care about whether the people posting the questions are learning. Now this shouldn't be an insurmountable problem. There are two obvious ways to deal with it: 1) have a benevolent dictator decide at the beginning what sort of site it's going to be or 2) Have a good forum where people can discuss their opinions and move towards a compromise. However, at math.SE there's neither of these situations. On the one hand there are dictators (the SE team has the ultimate power) but because they don't really care about math and because they weren't involved from the get-go they aren't seen as benevolent or above the fray. On the other hand there's no forum for the community to actually work out compromises and come to an understanding. The SE platform just doesn't work for that kind of discussion.

    2) Let's face it academics and mathematics in particular can attract some special snowflakes who are going to have their own strong ideosyncratic opinions and want to express them. Here at MO we've dealt with this very well by having the meta site absorb a lot of mess that otherwise would be problematic on the main site. We can let little tempests ride themselves out and mostly keep them off the front page. But the SE people see the meta site as part of their network and so there's nowhere for the fires to burn themselves out.
    • CommentAuthorWill Jagy
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2010
    Pete, just my usual, I think troubles should be moved to email if at all possible. Recently I had a big problem with somebody on MO, I emailed him and about four others (including Ben Webster), said he owed me an apology, he said he didn't, and i felt a good deal better. In some ways there was no change, but there was a big change in my ability to move on. I continue to feel that arguments in the agora blow up because of the size of the audience. As I told one guy, you would not email someone to say "I am your mortal enemy."

    Let's see, the bit about the audience has at least two components I can identify. On the one hand, people naturally play to an audience, increase the dramatic language even as they decrease the explicit obscenities. The other aspect I figured out was the inherent instability of any conversation that allows any of the 50 people listening to express disapproval of something.

    Anyway, consider emailing this Jeff person. I know it is not fashionable with the young people, but it works. It really does.

    For the record, I've become completely disillusioned with belonging to the SE framework, and would cast whatever fraction of a vote I have to taking the first opportunity to take any extra funding and recode the site from scratch, to our specifications. (I can delete this sentence if it's unwise to leave it here).

    Also, +1 to Noah for "special snowflakes."


    Indeed, that has gone a bit septic. I hadn't been paying much attention to math.SE (since the early discouraging days of trying to complain about bogus proofs that .9999... = 1), and coming back to look at it right as this is blowing up is extremely discouraging.

    The idea that meta.MSE is not considered the right place to criticize moderator behaviour is, I think, extremely dangerous --- it necessitates people from "higher up" stepping in and opens the possibility of them, by doing so, losing the trust of the community.


    FWIW I feel scapegoated.

    My impression is that math.SE is working well, and is on steady course to become
    a good "MathUnderflow". On the other hand meta.MSE has become a seething
    cauldron. There has been some criticism (mostly politely expressed) of some
    aspects of the M.SE interface. I myself was critical of a change to the commenting
    system, imposed suddenly and without warning, which made it much more difficult
    to use. But suddenly the SE bigwigs have imposed a "crackdown", locking
    critical threads and insulting experienced users. I get the impression of
    active hostility from the SE centre.

    It is fortunate that MO has positioned itself at arm's length from SE. This
    should be a warning against embracing the 2.0 platform.

    meta.math.SE should never have been built on the SE framework. Harry and others have voiced this opinion several times and I think it's an important criticism. It really is not a good way to have reasonable discussions about anything. At most, it's a good way to report bugs.

    • CommentAuthorHarry Gindi
    • CommentTimeNov 19th 2010 edited

    I guess that since I can't respond to certain allegations over there by certain users over here, I'll respond, but I'll limit it to this one post:

    For some reason, there's this idea that I went over there and started acting like a clown. This is, in fact, not the case. I didn't make any friends over there by vigorously campaigning for questions to be mathematically well-formed and not answerable by a google search (indeed, this was the major source of contention early on). I was told by SO users that I was being an "elitist", and that they would not allow math.SE to become anything like a "MathUnderflow", an idea that, at the time, had much support on MO. I would call this period the "battle for the heart and soul" of Math.SE. There were two major factions, and I was probably the most vocal user on our side (other people on this side were, if I remember correctly, Scott Morrison (to the extent that he participated), Akhil Mathew, Qiaochu Yuan, Tom Stephens) .

    Then came the moderator elections. Katie and Akhil garnered the most votes, but the original provisional moderators ended up being Katie, Isaac, and Kaestur Hakarl. I was stunned that the SE overlords would cynically skip over the only candidate that was an active member of MO and was rightfully elected as a provisional moderator! I inquired about this in the provisional moderator announcement thread, but I was flat out ignored. Further, the new moderators (sans Katie, who has never really been all that active) were using their powers to make Math.SE into a site following the SO rather than the MO philosophy. It was at that point that I changed my handle and decided to "take off the gloves", so to speak. After getting it out of my system (I flamed a few people who I found to be especially annoying, I'm embarrassed to say), I decided that a more reasonable approach would be to, at every opportunity possible, question the legitimacy of the moderators' elections, the moderators' allegiances, and their suitability as moderators of a mathematics site.

    This, of course, was drastically exacerbated by the moderator Kaestur Hakarl taking it upon himself to suppress criticism of the moderation staff, as well as his penchant for inventing rules that the meta community never discussed. Then I was suddenly suspended for repeatedly rolling back an edit on one of my posts (where I offered to send a copy of a book by e-mail if the OP couldn't find it by other means). After my suspension was up, the problem was discussed but never dealt with. Soon after, I was suspended for a month for saying something like "This is why I hate that the moderators aren't mathematicians...". It was again discussed and never dealt with, although the community seemed to agree that the moderators overstepped their bounds by suspending me over that comment.

    Since then, I asked a question whose title could have been more diplomatically worded, "When can we get rid of the odious moderators-pro-tempore?", but aside from that, the only thing I posted (sans a few comments about a technical issue) was the triple of comments I quoted above.

    The question was not, as Pete indicated (in Akhil's open letter thread), a question of mathematical seniority, but a question of mathematical competence and a question of having an understanding of the "ancient customs" and "sacred rites" of the community of research mathematicians, so to speak. It wasn't even that there were moderators whose experience was originally from SO! The point is that important decisions about the content of the site were made essentially without the input of the very people who should have been consulted first! Even worse, the people who got elected didn't even win the election!

    I realize that this is tl; dr material, but since this thread has been linked over at math.SE, I'm leaving this post as a comment on all of those comments accusing me of somehow fostering a negative tone. This reeks of scapegoating and doesn't even make any sense, since I posted on the main site, at the very most, extremely infrequently.


    @Harry: This is off-topic, but I'm struck by how completely reasonable a person you are when you try to be. Your post above is filled with confessions of you intentionally stirring up trouble ("I flamed a few people..."), trouble which surely in part can be said to have contributed to the current turmoil. I feel like if you tried a little harder to restrain that inner voice that consciously decides to flame people, you would be a force to be reckoned with. As it stands now, you are frequently easily dismissed as a troll, even when you are defending a philosophically correct viewpoint.

    • CommentAuthorBen Webster
    • CommentTimeNov 19th 2010 edited

    I decided that a more reasonable approach would be to, at every opportunity possible, question the legitimacy of the moderators' elections, the moderators' allegiances, and their suitability as moderators of a mathematics site.

    Wow. I find it pretty unbelievable that you thought that this was a reasonable way to defend your actions. Don't you have better things to do with your time?

    • CommentAuthorHarry Gindi
    • CommentTimeNov 19th 2010 edited

    Dear Cam,

    Thank you for your kind words.

    Dear Ben,

    I had a lot of free time over the summer. I have no intention of further defending my actions. This was a matter of politics, nothing more, nothing less.

    @Harry : OMFG! I'm going to be very frank. You need to get your head out of your ass and learn to act like an adult. If it were up to me, you'd be suspended from MO in addition to MU for these antics. Do you really think that publicly acting like a troll while claiming to represent "real mathematics" is going to help either 1. your cause at MU, or 2. your future career prospects? You've really dug a big hole for yourself here...

    ("ancient customs" and "sacred rites" ?!?!?!?!?)
    • CommentAuthorEmerton
    • CommentTimeNov 19th 2010 edited

    Dear Harry,

    I read your contributions during the discussion prior to the moderator elections. They were (as I wrote in a comment in the current discussion on meta.math.SE) abusive, and there is no doubt that they contributed to the current unpleasant atmosphere on the meta site over there. In short, it is not scapegoating to blame someone for problems which they played a role in creating.

    This is not to defend the SE team in their choice of moderators, their current mode of intervention, or anything else. It is simply to say that you have engaged in indefensible behaviour over there.



    • CommentAuthorj2m
    • CommentTimeNov 19th 2010

    I linked this thread in there, and I am glad that you explained yourself. My only note, like Cam, is that a less inflammatory way of presenting things would probably have made people take notice instead of dismissing you.

    That said, it is spilt beer, and we can only hope that your suspension until 2012 there does not actually last that long. In the meantime, I would recommend practice with using measured words to drive a point home instead of conscious, if you'll pardon the expression, shit-stirring.
    • CommentAuthorHarry Gindi
    • CommentTimeNov 19th 2010 edited

    Dear Andy,

    Then I'm extremely glad that it's not up to you. I don't think that I've in any way a.) publicly acted like a troll and b.) claimed to represent real mathematics. Since you apparently can't be bothered to actually get sufficient context, I think that you should refrain from commenting further. If you'd like to discuss this issue or another issue with me in private, you know how to reach me. I'm told that I'm a pretty reasonable guy one-on-one. Maybe that's true!

    Also, "ancient customs" and "sacred rites" was a euphemism for the general culture of the mathematical community.

    • CommentAuthorAndy Putman
    • CommentTimeNov 19th 2010 edited
    @Harry : I "can't be bothered"? You have no idea what you're talking about. Though I don't have enough free time or patience to contribute to math.SE, I lurk plenty and have witnessed an awful lot of childish, troll-like behavior on your part. It's like the worst of your early behavior on MO, but with an added dose of (unearned) arrogance.

    I really think people should calm down and let math.SE solve their own problems. I have no opinon on what is going on over there, and I do hope it will be resolved such that math.SE can be a useful resource. But I think we should not let problems that they are having spill over to here and create bad blood where before there was none.

    • CommentAuthorHarry Gindi
    • CommentTimeNov 19th 2010 edited

    Dear Andy,

    My "contributions" on math.SE have been quite limited. If you have specific issues you'd like to discuss with me, by all means, my e-mail address is public, and I'm very interested to hear your concerns. I honestly mean this. This thread is not the place for this, and in fact, this thread is not about me at all.

    • CommentAuthorj2m
    • CommentTimeNov 19th 2010


    The choice of moderators pro tempore was never an election to begin with (i.e., their judgment call), according to this post: by Robert Cartaino. (Thanks to Michael Mrozek for pointing this out). The elections were intended to happen after a SE 2.0 site left the beta phase.

    Admittedly, very few read meta.SO or the blog in there, so this fact was soon forgotten.

    I suppose this clears a number of misunderstandings...

    • CommentAuthorWillieWong
    • CommentTimeNov 19th 2010

    +1 Harry('s last comment). While some of his comments on Math.SE are a bit harsh, this is ultimately not about Harry, and my impression has been that his behavior is only one small facet of the larger acrimony on Meta.MSE. Just to bring this slightly back on topic, I agree with Akhil's and Robin's assessments above. There has always been the occassional flareup on Meta, but it has been mostly constrained to the comment sections of a few "special" threads. Several recent discussions there, however, made the situation suddenly very much more unpleasant, so much that I've been avoiding Meta.MSE.

    @Cam: I think the situation at Meta.MSE has a bit of a "perfect storm" flavour to it. I wouldn't use it as an example against all of StackExchange (I happen to think that TeX.SE is doing quite very well). If MO can be allowed to operate in the SE framework under our current policies with a promise of only minimal interference from "above", then I don't see it necessarily as a bad thing. (There are plenty of little nits I'd like to pick about SE2.0, but I don't have a categorical objection to it.)

    • CommentAuthorWillieWong
    • CommentTimeNov 19th 2010

    @j2m: the problem is that that post gives a slightly different impression from the answer

    It is true that Robert Cartaino only asked the user base to identify potential pro tems, and he did say that they will select the moderators pro tempore from those the community identified. Now, this maybe yet another short-coming (like Qiaochu said) of using the SE engine for Meta: there has never been mention that the selection will be based on community up-votes. But given that you are using a system where votes are encouraged and shown, it is hard for the userbase to think otherwise...

    • CommentAuthorj2m
    • CommentTimeNov 19th 2010


    I didn't know about that blog post either until it was pointed out, and thus I too was assuming that the community support for Akhil was unfairly ignored. Thus, I now gather that they were merely asking for suggestions, but it was still their judgment call. I would say the overlords had also neglected to rename/clarify that "election" thread, but since the beer has already been spilt...


    @Willie: I have no in-general complaints with SE sites, nor with their software (save for, and this is key, the immutability of it). I agree that TeX.SE is doing quite well, and I find StackOverflow itself quite interesting at time. And certainly this exchange at MSE is a temporary skirmish. But this doesn't change the fact that there are some significant advantages to autonomy.

    • CommentAuthorthomas80
    • CommentTimeNov 19th 2010
    posting in a troll thread

    Thanks everybody for filling me in. I feel like I have a better understanding of what's going on there now. I hope the upcoming math.SE moderator elections help the situation.

    If it counts for anything, I'd like to serve as a character witness for Jeff Atwood. I don't always agree with him, but I believe he is pushing for math.SE to be successful and I respect his opinions. To the extent that I had opinions about how to run MO in the early days, they largely came from reflecting on Jeff's words in the SO podcast and the SO blog. Importantly, he's willing to admit to mistakes and to change his mind when presented with evidence. It pains me to see potentially fruitful discussions get derailed by (implicit or maybe even accidental) accusations that Jeff is acting in bad faith. But like Noah said, it's hard to see how to bring down the temperature.

    • CommentAuthorAndrewL
    • CommentTimeNov 19th 2010

    Lord,I've been missing all the fun over there........LOL


    More issues over at meta.math.SE.

    It really looks to me like math.SE is going to end up getting shut down.

    @Noah: do you really think that's likely? If the higher-ups think the troubles on meta are that bad, they'll just ban all the relevant users, won't they?

    • CommentAuthorHarry Gindi
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2010 edited

    @Qiaochu: I think that if the management over there decides to suspend Robin (or someone else well-respected), most people here will boycott math.SE.

    If there's nobody there to answer questions, it's as good as shutting it down.

    • CommentAuthormuad
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2010 edited
    I'm disappointed, was hoping for a "MathUnderflow" site but that turned out not to be a good one: Everyone is fighting and being controlling, telling you to act the way they want you to - treating rules like rules were treated when they had school, unquestionable inflexible commandments - one example was when Gerhard Paseman was chased away with pitchforks and told not to come back. It's saddening to watch, when it is completely voluntarily to play on that site, that we could not build an ideal society.

    Maybe you really do need a collection of research mathematicians to stop something like that falling apart, or maybe it's just not possible to build a lower level maths site which doesn't deteriorate into some kind of homework helper service with a level of drama rivaling Shakespeare in the background. I better not omit that there is some good stuff on that site, e.g. Bill Dubuque posts with a very different view than I had on a lot of fundamental concepts, I learned a lot reading his posts.

    I guess it's hypocritical to say that I don't see any point in posting to that site, since I don't really see the point in any mathematics at all - yet I still do a lot of that. So I think that I was one of many people, whom, even though they were trying improve the situation there were making it worse (e.g. Jeff is obviously trying to help but he just causes anger by some of his selective actions). It would be nice to build a site based on the idea of MO for beginners (like myself) but I can't afford a server and connection, so I don't think it would be created without some kind of commercial agenda behind it.

    When was Gerhard Paseman chased away with pitchforks and told not to come back?


    A while ago, but I can confirm that it did happen.


    I think Harry and muad are referring to this.

    Just look at his userpage, he used the site between July 28 and August 11.
    I really wouldn't at all be surprised if the site ends up getting deleted. The moderator elections don't seem to me like they're going to solve many of the problems, and the more times stuff goes awry the more likely Jeff et al. are to conclude that the site just isn't worth the extra hassle relative to the rest of the network.
    • CommentAuthorHarry Gindi
    • CommentTimeDec 7th 2010 edited

    I hope that those of you with non-suspended accounts will write a comment in support of Robin on the election thread, where Kyle Cronin (moderator on SO, no affiliation with math.SE) has left a sneering remark.


    @Harry: You are not doing Math.SE any good by constantly accentuating only the negative aspects and rarely (if ever?) contributing anything positive. A general math site at the level of Math.SE requires strong moderation to prevent it from crashing and burning like sci.math and other sites at this level. Moderation must be applied equally to all users - whether expert or novice. If someone continues to disrupt the site after they have been warned a couple times then they deserve to sit in the penalty box.

    Talk about the site being deleted is absurd. The site is quite healthy modulo some minor growing pains and I see no reason why it will not prosper.


    @Bill: I'm uncomfortable with the way the SE staff treats people who I respect.

    Regarding strong moderation, I have no problem with it. However, there's a difference between strong moderation and moderation that is heavy-handed and arbitrary (and without any sort of attempt to gauge community opinion on an issue).


    @Harry: Do you think that someone should be able to break the site rules simply because you respect them? The behavior that prompted the suspension warning caused obfuscation to many comment threads on Math.SE. This adds up to a lot of wasted user time attempting to grok such obfuscated threads. That's a very unsociable way to protest inadequacies in the software platform.